I Have A Vision

Richard Shrapnel's 'I Have A Vision'.

I have a vision for my business. It’s where I want to take it to. What I want to see it achieve. What we can become as a business. But no one seems to be buying into it. Is it me, is it them or is it the vision?


Active Knowledge Questions:

Do you have a vision for your business that you communicate to your entire team? Is it compelling and enticing? Or is it just some words to fill in a box on a form? Or maybe you just keep it to yourself as you don’t think anyone would believe in it.


The Annual Vision Exercise

This business does it each year, the CEO conducts a roadshow over a week or so visiting each site and pitching the vision for the new year to its 5000 odd employees. It’s meant to be a rally of the troops and an information session of where leadership will be focusing its efforts.

I sat in on this year’s session, and I am not sure if it will have the effect leadership hope for? I heard the people sitting around me saying, ‘Here we go again. How does this tie into the five-year vision cast last year? It sounds like they just want us to do more work. Where is all this going?’

The CEO tried to sound energised in their pitch and engage the audience, but it’s not in their character, so it came across a bit ‘try hard’ if you know what I mean.

Visions can be hard work. Especially, if you are creating a vision because you need one, as distinct from you have one. But a vision can be compelling. And without a vision, a business is left directionless.

So let’s look at the making of a great vision.



To engage, a vision must be authentic. And that authenticity lies not only in the message but also in the messenger.

If you do not believe in the vision, then you cannot deliver it. It will be clear and obvious to everyone listening that what you are saying are merely words with no real intent or belief behind them.

Also, deliver the message in a manner consistent with who you are as a person. Yes, the media team will become involved, and I am sure every CEO has undertaken professional speaking training, but the person delivering the message has to be true to who they are. Don’t try to be someone who you are not.

The other aspect of authenticity lies in the image you create and the words you use to do that. A vision is a quest; it is where you are asking someone to journey to with you.  The image you create is of that destination and the journey towards it. The image you create must be authentic in that it must be consistent with whom everyone knows the business to be. If it is not ‘who you are as a business’, then it will never happen.


Purpose And Vision

Purpose and vision go hand in hand but serve different functions:

  • Purpose tells why you are here; vision tells you where you must go.
  • Purpose is the reason for being; vision is the reason for moving.
  • Purpose connects with customer need; vision connects with the future of that customer need.
  • Purpose is your cornerstone; vision is your beacon on the summit.

Purpose and vision must be consistent, and one without the other weakens the other.


The Traits Of A Great Vision

A great vision should echo what is already in your heart as a leader. It calls out what is sought but not yet expressed. Here are some ‘traits’ that a great vision should evoke:

  • Inspiration
  • Conviction
  • Meaning
  • Awe
  • Focus
  • Faith
  • Courage
  • Passion
  • Energy

Your vision sets the journey that must be undertaken and the reason why. It sets up the impossible and creates possibility. It leaves everyone with a sense of real excitement of what the future will hold for them individually, and as part of the team.


Without a vision, a business has nowhere to go. And will likely chase almost any profit opportunity that arises. Ultimately, its competitiveness will be weakened not strengthened, and it will falter and fail.

Visions are the glue that binds and the energy that will propel everyone forward. A vision must be authentic, delivered with authenticity, consistent with who the business is or intends to become, be in execution of purpose and possess that traits that will energise it.

I find visions that are expressed as a clear image of where a business must move to and fuelled by a genuine conviction that it is a destination that must be reached are visions that meet all the criteria to be great.


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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel